There is an invisible stretch of road that lies between the idea of our dreams and the finishing mark of achieving them. This pathway is entrenched with barriers and potholes that seem to increase in depth as we women get closer and closer to claiming the prize. These barriers are universal, and we feel them deeply, but they are not identical across space and time: each woman faces her own impassable stretch of road in her own way.Dr. Tererai Trent, The Awakened Woman
Ah, the invisible road, or as some like to say, “the gap”.
The “gap” has been bothering me this week. It’s not technique that I’m worried about. My skills are pretty solid. What I don’t know how to do is connect my skills to a message. I long for my art to have the strength and depth of Lisa Congdon and Charles Mackesy. I want my art to inspire, to transform, to touch human emotion.
Have you ever gotten to that place where you have no idea what to do next?
While I have been ruminating on this all week, I kept painting. Three pieces made it, one got trashed, and the other is still coming together (or not…we’ll see).
I appreciate what daily painting does, but I also don’t want to work in circles. Practice needs to have a point, right?
Daily painting is the vehicle.
I’m missing the map.
“Where am I going?” I keep asking myself.
I’ve not let the Divine off the hook either. “Can you point me in the right direction? Drop a clue? Give me one step?”
And that’s when two very interesting things happened.
I’ve never been a great sleeper. I remember sleeping at a friend’s house when I was in grade school. We were in her living room on the floor and a spider crawled over my arm. It woke me up.
Everything wakes me up.
I’ve tried to embrace it as I’ve gotten older. 3 AM seems to be the “magic hour” of creative ideas.
But all this waking up has side effects. (1) I’m tired and need to nap during the day and (2) I seldom remember dreams. I have no idea why. It’s just the way it is. If I do remember them, everyone in the dream changes into something or someone else the entire time (including me).
This week was different. Not only did remember my dream vividly, but I didn’t turn into an old boyfriend or a fire-breathing dragon (what can I say? The brain is a funny thing).
It goes something like this: a young woman confided in me that she was struggling. She was losing faith in her religion and was ready to give up on her dream of singing professionally. She was an excellent singer. I listened to her distress, and then with all the calm and confidence in the world, I placed my hand on her shoulder and said, “Take a break if you need to. If you truly love it, it will come back.”
I’ve been freaking out ever since. Was the girl the “old” me? Was I “future” me? Why was I so confident? Am I thinking about this too much?
I guess only time will tell.
Whatever the meaning, I won’t forget how relaxed and certain I was when I told her “it will come back”.
My oldest daughter got her driver’s license this week.
I could probably end this post with that sentence, but as I have been trying to put dots together, a second very curious thing happened.
Inspiration wasn’t giving any direction for my paintings.
It wants me to write a book.
(insert face-palm emoji)
This is not the first time I’ve been prompted to write a book.
It’s the third, if you were wondering.
The first two fell apart because I never had a strong enough “why” to finish them. More important tasks have come along and I made the call to put them away. As any working mom knows, you have to be vigilant about time. Every investment in something takes away from something else, so even good projects get dropped.
This book, however, needs to be written and will be a worthy investment of my time, regardless of the outcome.
I need to write it for my daughter. She leaves the nest in two years, and I want her to have it so she can navigate her own invisible road.
I want her to have something that will last beyond me.
And I want it in her hands on graduation day. In other words, this is happening.
A truly strange twist indeed.
What will happen with my art, you ask? Don’t worry. Daily painting will continue. I’m being selective with my design work to accommodate as well. I have time enough for all of it.
Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.Ludwig Van Beethoven